Police mainly to blame for airport assault: Report

Kathmandu, Feb. 6: The investigation of the Ministry of Home Affairs into the two-side brawl between immigration officials and Nepal Police stationed in the Tribhuvan International Airport has pointed out weaknesses on part of the leadership of Nepal Police.

There was a brawl between the officials of the Nepal Police personnel and the immigration officer of the TIA at the international departure section of the airport on January 26.

Chief Immigration Officer Gogan Bahadur Hamal, who went to inquire about the incident, was also assaulted in the CC camera control room.

Although the fight took place between the immigration officer and an assistant sub-inspector of the airport, the investigation report drew a conclusion that the situation occurred because the leadership of Nepal Police has failed to teach discipline, maintain proper conduct, professional modesty and official responsibility.

In addition, the report also mentioned that there is serious mistrust between the agencies involved in the security and management of the airport (immigration).

Rajesh Nath Bastola, Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police, and Kul Bahadur GC, and Under Secretary of Border and Immigration Administration Section, were members of the probe committee formed under the coordination of Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary Thaneshwar Gautam. The committee was formed on January 27 and was given one-week deadline to write and submit report on the incident to the Home Ministry.

“From the overall incident description, on-site study, inquiries, discussions and statements with the officials, it appears that serious mistrust has arisen in the airport between the two agencies,” it is written in the conclusion section of the report. 

It is further stated in the report, “From outer surface, even though the incident seemed to be an outcome of mistrust between the two officials of Nepal Police and Immigration Department, especially between Chhayan Moktan and ASI Sanjaya Tamang, it cannot be ignored that their leadership has not instilled enough discipline, conduct, professional courtesy and official responsibility.”

Questioning the leadership of the police in particular, the report further stated, “Instead of taking action according to the professional conduct of the person who was held under suspicion, the police resorted to violence and beat the immigration official and in places where there are no CC cameras, they resorted to destroying evidence of the video footage of beating the immigration officials.” When the police administration themselves resort to such violence, how can general public can trust in the security and behaviour of police? it was questioned in the report. 

The investigation committee has pointed out that the police personnel could not give due regard to the immigration officer who was senior to them and the immigration officer also fail to behave properly with the police. 

Terming the incident unfortunate, the committee has suggested 10-point recommendations to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

Among the 10-point recommendations, the number 10 point has suggested the government that as the DIG and Chief of the TIA Security Arjun Chand has raised very critical issues in the media after the formation of the committee, the Home Ministry should keep his statement into account he had given to the media. 

The report has also recommended the Ministry to draw special attention of Nepal Police Headquarters regarding the police’s lack of professional conduct, coordination and discipline. 

DIG Chand has also tendered his resignation from the post on February 3, the day when the report was drafted and finalised.

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